Port Lympne Wildlife Park
This festival was only recently added to the calendar, and our thanks to Malcolm Ford and the Kent Flyers for taking it on.
By all accounts the Wild Life Park had approached the KKF only a few months ago wanting a full two day festival, but as anyone in the scene knows these things need to be started a year in advance so that arena display teams can be booked. As a result the event was reduced to a one day trial event as a precursor to a two day event next year.
Being a one day even we loaded up the car rather than the kitemobile and made the two hour run down to the event. The flying area is pretty good being large flat and apart from the northern side a fair way from any trees. The wind was a little blustery, but at one point I had Mr Incredible, and Superman on one line and Elmer, Wilbur and Rose on the second. However as the morning progressed we we started to get large variations in wind direction before the wind dropped completely and we were only seeing thermals passing through. Come the mid-afternoon we had a complete 180 degree shift and pick up in the wind speed as a result the kites were more visible to the public being face on rather than tail on.
Given the work that had done publicising the event in the Kiteflyer, on the KKF on the Kiteweekenders websites by the KKF there were no non-KKF flyers than ourselves, but between us all we still managed to put on a reasonable display. Though I would have like to have seen more kites in the sky in order to make more of an impression.
The intention for the festival is purely commercial either by charging parking for those attending the kite festival or by hoping that having travelled the festival people will pay to then enter the wildlife park. The only downside that I can see it is that the park is in the middle of nowhere and it is more likely that people will attend the festival as a result of visiting the park. I don’t have numbers but from what I could see there were a number of kites built in the children’s kite workshop and a few people came over to get a closer look at the kites, but without a demonstration arena with a continuous program there was little to keep people occupied. Whether we get a second event here it has to been seen.